Ohno Kazuo

Biography and methods of movement creation 1

Authored by: Lucia Schwellinger , Charlotte Marr , Rosemary Candelario

The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138691094
eBook ISBN: 9781315536132
Adobe ISBN:


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Ohno Kazuo was born October 27, 1906, in Hakodate, a seaport at the southern point of Hokkaido as the oldest son of the family. Hakodate was considered a very modern town in Northern Japan that is strongly influenced by the West. Ohno’s parents were from relatively well to-do families; his father’s family worked in the fishing industry of the Northern Ocean. Even though his family lived through tough times every now and then, Ohno and his eight siblings grew up in a relatively comfortable home. When Ohno speaks about his family, he mostly talks about his own egotism and the boundless kindness of his mother. His main thoughts are thankfulness and guilt toward her, she who always had understanding for him until her death (Ohno 1989, 73). 2 He credits his tendency to speak in dream images to her influence because she would tell him ghost stories written by Lafcadio Hearn, which stimulated in him a visionary view of reality (Ohno 1989, 64). Her religiosity molded Ohno’s life as well. At the moment when one of his younger sisters was struck by a train and mortally injured, his mother, who was at home, was said to have had a vision of a procession of Buddhist monks. As a follower of Amida-Buddhism, she took her kids to Christian services every now and then because there was no Buddhist temple in the vicinity of their town. Ohno was twenty-four years old when he was baptized, and the Christian faith has constituted the basis of his thinking ever since.

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